LeBron James is one of the greatest NBA players of all time and arguably the best of all time, even pipping the likes of Michael Jordan. Born in Akron, Ohio he has risen up the sporting ladder in a career spanning close to two decades! The LA Lakers star has won four NBA titles, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, four NBA Finals MVP Awards, 17 NBA Allstar, and many more. Nobody would have ever imagined that the young boy from Akron, Ohio would go against the NBA odds to get where he is today!
A little-known b-ball wonder in primary school, James was named Ohio’s Mr. B-ball (secondary school player of the year). He was a star in the making as he led Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to three Ohio state titles in four years. This earned him plaudits including an appearance on the front page of Sports Illustrated. Back in 2002, he was nicknamed “The Chosen One.”
Everyone seemed to agree that he deserved the secondary school player of the year award in his senior season. Things moved on fast as he was chosen by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA draft and was awarded an exceptional $90 million contract with Nike even before he went pro! It was a huge billing for a teenager, but he has exceeded expectations.
Cleveland Cavaliers: The First Stint
His first stop rubbing shoulders with the best in the business was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It was where the records started popping up. In his first season, James hit 25 points against the Sacramento Kings, setting a record for a player in a debut campaign. That earned him the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, the first Cavaliers player to win it.
It was a springboard to stardom as he went on to earn his NBA All-Star Game in 2004/05 and the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in the 2006 edition. In the 2008/2009 season, James picked up his first MVP accolade, again becoming the first Cavalier player to do so. It is also worth remembering that he led the US national team to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. The “Redeem’’ team as they were known were out to reclaim the glory lost four years earlier. James didn’t disappoint in the tournament hitting an average of 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.4 steals a game.
A Switch to Miami Heat: Back-to-Back Championships!
In 2010, he left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat on a heavily criticized move often dubbed The Decision. The suitors were many but he ultimately picked the Heat. In his first season in Miami, he led them to the finals eventually losing out to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. James finally won his first title in 2012 when Miami crushed the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games winning the MVP. He also led the Heat as they won a back-to-back title beating the San Antonio Spurs. Again, he was picked as the Finals MVP.
Back to Cleveland: Winning the First Title in 50 years!
In 2014, he decided against renewing his contract with the Heat choosing to return to where it all began! The Cavaliers had delivered torrid results in the four years he had been away. Unfortunately, his arrival did little to stop the rot in the short term. The 2015/2016 season was however a memorable one as James finally led the Cavaliers to a title. It was the first title Cleveland had won in over 50 years. He was subsequently named the Finals MVP.
Move to LA Lakers: Fourth Championship Win
The 2017/2018 season was marred by injury issues pushing him to end his second stint with Cleveland in 2018. To many, he had delivered the promise so no wonder, this time around moving away didn’t come with a lot of backlashes. He switched to the LA Lakers for the 2018/2019 season. It was another season in which he struggled with injuries forcing him to settle for the All-NBA Third Team, the first time in 12 years he had not made the All-NBA First Team.
Led by a new coach, Frank Vogel, the Lakers finally conjured a team that went on to win the 2019/2020 championship. It was against his former franchise, the Heat, that he delivered a stellar performance including 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. This earned him another MVP award, the fourth in his iconic career.
Wrap up: The Future of Lebron James
At 36, Lebron James is still going strong as the best in the NBA. The clock is definitely ticking on his decorated career but there is certainly more to expect. His recent seasons have been blighted by injuries but whatever happens in the coming years, his GOAT status has been cemented in the NBA!